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Predictors of Driving Avoidance and Exposure Following Traumatic Brain Injury

Labbe, Donald R. PhD; Vance, David E. PhD; Wadley, Virginia PhD; Novack, Thomas A. PhD

Section Editor(s): Caplan, Bruce PhD, ABPP; Bogner, Jennifer PhD, ABPP

The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation: March/April 2014 - Volume 29 - Issue 2 - p 185–192
doi: 10.1097/HTR.0b013e3182795211
Original Articles

Background: An estimated 40% to 60% of individuals who experience a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) return to driving. However, little is known about driving behavior post-TBI and how this may be related to demographic, injury, and outcome factors.

Methods: A total of 184 participants who experienced moderate to severe TBI were included in this study. Participants completed a telephone survey regarding return to driving and current driving behavior. Structural equation modeling was used to analyze predicted relationships between demographic and injury-related variables with driving exposure and avoidance within 5 years of injury.

Results: The model indicated that participants who were older and female tended to avoid a greater number of challenging everyday driving scenarios. Participants who had more severe injuries and those with poorer performance on cognitive measures at the time of rehabilitation discharge were likely to drive less frequently and over less distances at follow-up, though they did not avoid challenging driving situations.

Conclusions: Young men and those with more severe injuries may require additional attention regarding their driving behavior following TBI.

Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island (Dr Labbe); Department of Nursing, Edward R. Roybal Center for Translational Research in Aging and Mobility (Dr Vance), Department of Medicine, Edward R. Roybal Center for Translational Research in Aging and Mobility (Dr Wadly), and Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Dr Novack), University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Corresponding Author: Donald R. Labbe, PhD, Alpert Medical School of Brown University, 830 Chalkstone Ave, Providence, RI ( or

The current study was funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research Grant No. H133A070039.

The authors declare no conflicts on interest

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